Day #18

Thessalonians 5:23-24

Due to health problems, I fell into a deep depression. I’d been conscientious about taking care of my body, eating the right foods, getting exercise, and staying fit. As a health nut, I’d believed that all illness had a present, fixable cause. Now as I tried every remedy under the sun from fasting to juicing to herbal remedies, I began to realize genetics had a mind of their own, and that I might not be able to cure myself. 

In other words, some of my problems were outside of my control.  

So I began to feel that all problems were outside of my control. And it was then that my frantic efforts gave way to a melancholic paralysis. I joined Abraham Lincoln in what he called “the dungeons of despair.” 

Did you know that God created us for power? He wants us to feel powerful. Wait, how can that be? We’re sinful and weak. Well, that may be true of our fallen condition, but the Creator’s design calls out to us from Eden lost, bringing with it dissonance between our fallen weakness and the strength for which God created us when He said, “Have dominion . . .” (Genesis 1:26-28). 

He waits to restore us to power through Christ who strengthens us. 

When circumstances outside our control sting us with the realization that there are some things over which we lack control, we can gather together our remaining options and “have dominion” over them. 

Scan through the problems in your life to identify just three choices you can make today to exercise dominion over your circumstances. 

Thank God that you still have this freedom, even if many things are outside of your control. Use this freedom, and then thank God for it. Tell at least one person today how God has helped you. 

Dear Creator-God, thank you for giving us free will, agency, individuality, and choice. You have said that without You we can do nothing, but that we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. Strengthen us now, Lord Jesus, to redirect our attention to the choices we can make for good, and then give us the strength to make those choices. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

55 thoughts on “Day #18

  1. Rachel

    I just realized, right now I’ve been feeling a bit helpless about my lack of self-discipline. Every night I want to get myself off to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier and do more in the day, but every night I still end up going to bed way too late. I keep letting myself be tempted with mindless entertainment on the internet.

    This right here is what God can help me gain control over! Because this is something that I can control! It’s myself, my own actions, not anyone else’s. If I call to God to help me resist my temptations, He will answer.

    Whichever verse it is: resist the devil, and he will flee from you!

    Reply
    1. Donna

      I have this late night problem too. Sometimes it’s insomnia, but it’s also those library books that are so intriguing that I don’t want to stop reading!

      Reply
    2. Mel

      I’m sitting here, so late at night, reading this and fully agreeing with you! May we all have victory to take care of our bodies that He gave us as a gift!

      Reply
  2. Colleen

    I also have had to learn to love people I care about well despite their bad choices. One by one they have turned the corner through much of the influence Jesus has had though using me in their lives as I patiently waited on the Lord. I now am facing this same area again in my closest relationships. It seems the challenge increases in intensity to purify my love in Christ. I see that the dominion and power He seeks to give me is to exercise the power of choice I have and to make loving choices that respect the freedom of others to make bad choices while making God honoring empowered choices for how I conduct myself and choose to live. I can love people as Jesus loved people with self respect and integrity making the best choices I can for myself and being faithful to Him. I pray Jesus will lead me through this passage victoriously in God’s will so that I can remain in Him and resist feelings and old patterns when the heat gets hot, living and speaking the truth in love. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world!

    Reply
  3. Daniel Parsons

    Today, please share with us one area of your life where you’ve felt helpless, and how you through Jesus are regaining power. 

    Struggled with irrational, selfish, self-absorbed thinking for decades. With Jesus Meditations, prayer, a patient wife and my church family, I am being healed by Jesus.

    Reply
  4. Valerie

    Last year I was inundated with health problems and injuries. It went on for so long that I felt helpless and felt I’d never get better. But now I feel more healthy than I ever have before, and God is answering my prayer for health by both healing me and helping me live more healthfully. His grace is enough!

    Reply
  5. Megan

    I can really relate to this. In the first few years of being sick, I tried almost everything to get well. Unsuccessfully. Then, exhausted and dejected, I stopped believing wellness was possible, so I became careless. Very easy to do when you’re isolated away from a supportive community. Anyway, today I want to take back dominion of sleep (getting enough), drinking an adequate amount of water each day, and my morning routine. 🙏🏻

    Reply
  6. Sarah

    “He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.” I needed that reminder. Lately I’ve been struggling with feeling helpless about finances as a full-time international student in a place where I can’t hold a job on a student visa. This is especially challenging because a number of people are dependent on me, especially refugees, a widow’s family, and a number of other students who can’t afford their education without outside assistance. The situation has led me to consider how we can develop our own ways to support the mission rather than depending solely on donations, which has been the case for the past 9+ years. Even though I don’t have answers yet, allowing myself to be overwhelmed with helplessness won’t do any good. What I can do is keep my eyes wide open for possibilities, take time to talk with others (near and far) to get ideas, and examine what skills we all have that we might be able to use to do something. Maybe different ones will be involved in different activities. But what I do know is that He has called me, and “He who calls…is faithful, who will also do it.”

    Reply
      1. Sarah

        Thank you for your prayers! I will keep you updated.

        For anyone who would like to donate, probably the best thing to do is email me because there are various ways depending on what people would like to contribute to. I can explain the details better in responding to an email. dahgomeedeh@gmail.com Blessings!

        Reply
  7. Ann

    The Covid19 pandemic has been a tough time. It was scary, unknown, and growing last spring. When the country shut down, I wondered if things would ever be “normal” again. This was definitely out of my control. I began to keep track of the numbers, but it got to be too mind-boggling and depressing. I started journaling specifically about Covid19 times and have continued for the past year. I follow the guidelines and put myself and my family in God’s hands, focusing on things to be thankful for. I know there has been heartbreak for many, and I pray for comfort and healing to those who have been affected by this terrible sickness.

    Reply
  8. Vanessa

    The example presented in the email prompt is my current reality. Being home more brought to light the poor choices my family members make in relation to their physical and mental health, and I so desire that they make the necessary changes. Force is out of the question, but I continue to present their cases before the Lord. I know He hears, and that gives me strength and power to keep going each day.

    Reply
  9. Amy

    I went through a period of years where I felt I had almost no control over my life. Due to where we lived and my child’s special needs I was essentially trapped in my house dependent on other’s schedules for even the basics like grocery shopping. It really affected my mental health. Now my situation is much improved but I am still learning to sort out which are things I can control and which are not. God is slowly teaching me that in any circumstance there is always something I can control, even if it is just my response to the uncontrollable.

    Reply
  10. Sharon

    Helplessness has been a way of life for me. Growing up, I was never given a choice or any kind of control, even over little things. I was also taught that I had to finish my “work” before I could “play.” “Work” being anything that helps me earn my keep, and “play” being everything else, no matter how necessary or beneficial. Given that I’ve always believed I don’t have any choice, I have continued to try to live by this rule. I desire to deepen my relationship with God through spending time in prayer and reading/studying the Bible, etc. I also want to heal and grow relationally and psychologically. This has been a huge problem for me because such activities were always defined as “play,” which are only allowed after the “work” is finished. The overwhelming guilt that inevitably follows usually means nothing gets done, least of all the truly important stuff. These last few days, I’ve finally begun to understand the concept of free will, and see the freedom and power that God has given me. I want to change, and for the first time in my life, I am beginning to believe that I actually can change, with God’s help. I want to reclaim my dominion over myself, instead of allowing others to have dominion over me. I know that God is faithful. I pray that He will keep me faithful to follow Him.

    Reply
  11. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    An area of struggle is my thoughts. At times it seems so big, yet God in His genteness is showing me how to connect with Him more and more. Through His amazing grace and compassionate mercy I’m regaining power. And part of this process is doing the Jesus Meditations.
    Peace

    Reply
  12. Jane

    The issue of feeling helpless, driven by my belief that I was powerless and unprotected, has plagued me since childhood. For a period of time when I was young I had a repeating nightmare that reflected the fear resulting from my feelings of helplessness. The fear seemed to be directly related to the power that people had over me and the possible danger that could come to me. Currently I find that I am still fearful of being overpowered and hurt by others and that it does happen. However, I believe that God is helping me to learn to realize when this is happening and when I’m slipping back into the mode of being “overpowered” and He’s giving me the ability to walk away or to confront the person who is causing the pain, if it’s appropriate to do so. I praise God for the miracle of change that He can bring to our minds and hearts!

    Reply
  13. Cheryl

    I need Jesus’s strength and His love. I’m struggling with loving myself and others well. I barely can see three choices I have each day. I don’t always see how God is helping me or remember to tell anyone.

    So, I’m going to say here, Praise God for all my trials and pain! It keeps me seeking Him and help for my issues. I long for Him and His healing in me and my family. Somehow, sometime soon, He is going to break through and bring His peace and love into my heart. Then I want to share that with others.

    Reply
    1. Erin D

      Hi Cheryl,
      I understand the struggle to love yourself and others well and have difficulties seeing my choices also. Prayers for the strength and comfort of Jesus to wrap His arms around you and give you peace!

      Reply
  14. Kristina

    I used to think I was helpless over my thoughts and feelings but have learned that I have choices…..I can reframe or reject the thought and ask for the Holy Spirit to give me the thoughts and feelings of Jesus. I thank God for His mercy and patience as I keep working on this and practicing this more each day.

    Reply
  15. Nowelle

    Jesus Meditations are much deeper than I expected. I know the Holy Spirit aided in the making of it because things are starting to click in my mind, like putting pieces of the puzzle together. There was a time when I felt very helpless spiritually. It seemed like no matter what I did, I could not get closer to God. I prayed more, I kept going to church, I turned my worship music up louder…nothing helped. I started attending a Bible study with young women my age. Nothing. I was so discouraged (I’m talking for years here). Then I read something in a book that encouraged me. It said (I’m paraphrasing), the cure for “spiritual despondency” is faith, prayer and work. Shortly after that, a close friend invited me to help clean our local food pantry. We lived in rural area so it wasn’t very big. It only took our little group 30 minutes to clean the whole place! And something happened inside of me. I can’t explain it, but I hadn’t been that happy since when I first gave my life to Jesus Christ. Then it hit me. I vowed that I would work for the Lord, but then I got hurt. That made me feel like a spiritual failure, and I beat myself up big time for it. So, years went by, and I was a miserable Christian. Until that night at the food pantry.
    Jesus is helping me to regain power to work for Him, and it’s happening by exercising my faith muscles. It’s so hard to explain spiritual stuff because it’s all a miracle of God and His grace.
    I am nothing without Him.

    Reply
  16. Nicky Dube

    An area in which I have felt helpless is in creating boundaries with my mother. Skew used to say some pretty harsh things to me about aspects of myself she thought I should improve and I felt hurt over and over again and helpless to change the pattern. I found healing through counseling and learned to speak up for myself and drastically improve our relationship. There are still other relationships in which I do not speak up for myself but I am unlearning helplessness. Good is so gracious and merciful and provides strength in the journey.

    Reply
  17. cree

    Not too long ago, I lost consciousness for the first time in my life. Right before that, I had broken out into hives (major, itchy, hives all over my body) I felt really helpless. Typically, I tolerate pain and fight fatigue. But at that time, I didn’t have the strength to defend myself from what was about to happen. Apparently I lost consciousness two times. Up until now, the doctors haven’t figured out the cause.

    Around the same time, I “lost consciousness” of my life, purpose, & identity. Right before that, something crazy had happened and it made me feel really helpless. I didn’t know how to defend myself. I just felt defeated every single day. The people that I had trusted abandoned me.

    But God sent others who were able to comfort me, and who were able help me become aware of what was happening to me. There were also those who prayed for me, and it seemed as if they were God’s mighty angels defending me from the enemy. I knew they could tell my soul was in the midst of an intense controversy.

    Unlike my doctors, God knew what was happening with me. Accurately. Aside from that, He knew exactly how to help me gain my strength back. It didn’t happen overnight, and I’m glad it didn’t so that the memory of how awful it was will bring me to my knees every time I think of it. Because He helped me up from my state of desperate helplessness. He sent people who ministered to me and cared for me.

    Oh His grace… it’s not just “sufficient” , but it’s more than enough.. !
    Thank you, dear Jesus—my Saviour! <3

    Reply
  18. Mel

    I used to think that I couldn’t overcome my negative and sometimes cycling thought patterns. This pay year God has really taught me that He can give me the strength and power to choose to think about other things. I’m so grateful!

    Reply
  19. Ann

    I might be blocking. However, right now I don’t feel helpless. Rather surprising given the many issues of anxiety I struggle with. Maybe Jesus is bringing healing.

    Reply
  20. Karen

    “He who calls me is faithful and He will sanctify me completely.” We don’t sanctify ourselves, that’s for sure!. I have felt helpless in dealing with my loved ones choices that are taking them far from God. Jesus is comforting and sustaining me and reminding me that he is working behind the scenes to soften their hearts and bring them to a realization of His all encompassing love for them. Everyday I feel like a helpless bystander with a front row seat to watch the spiritual demise of my loved ones. Jesus is empowering me to release the situation to His capable hands and to not spend my days in agony.

    Reply
  21. Bonnie

    After injuring my arm, which resulted in a painful frozen shoulder, I became discouraged with the chronic pain. I haven’t been trying as hard to exercise and eat right. I know that these things would make me feel better, and I pray that God will help me to stay focused.

    Reply
  22. Erin D

    I feel hopeless about many of my relationships and circumstances in my life, but God is teaching me each day to give every person and every situation over to Him and His care. I try to remember that the people I care about are His children and He loves them much more than I even do. I will trust Him to do His work in His time and try to do my best not to hinder it and to answer His calls when He allows me to be an aid to His work.

    Reply
  23. Shirley Mann

    I don’t know that I have ever felt helpless, but I do know I have made and am still making some bad choices. I do need God’s help to always make the best choices.

    Reply
  24. Sabrina

    Eating has been an area in my life in which I’ve felt helpless. After struggling with anorexia and having an iron-tight control over what went into my mouth, I swung the other way and felt like I lost control over eating. It’s been a long journey, but God has been providing resources that have helped me to let go of my need to control and give Him control in this area.

    Reply
  25. Donna

    About 10 years ago, a therapist brought up the term, “Learned helplessness” … do I have it? Absolutely. I probably had it for much of my insecure, people-pleasing life; but it opened wide after a trauma that took away my identity, and caused massive losses. My value diminished rapidly as the losses took over. From my husband came, “Can you wait?” … “Can it wait?” … “Do you really need it?” … “Can you do ‘this’ instead?” I began to feel like I didn’t matter, and so I basically gave up asking/needing.

    3 choices:
    — I’m going to call a friend and tell her about my therapy session coming up tomorrow where I plan to talk about my husband’s emotional abuse … my husband will be there.
    — I’m going to reach out for more support and prayer for my therapy session tomorrow.
    — I’m going to take the time to make a healthy supper

    I’m living with a lot of fear.

    Reply
  26. Tara

    Like several others, I’ve felt helpless when it comes to thoughts and feelings. I’ve also felt helpless when it comes to the overwhelming and constant amount of work and responsibility that comes with leading a mission boarding school. But by God’s grace, we are learning to keep Him in first place and family in second place. The mission comes third.

    Reply
  27. Ericka

    oh ive definitely felt helpless in parenting! you try and try to tell them the right thing to do, and how much easier the right thing is than the wrong thing, and they still choose the wrong thing! you try to get them to treat each other kindly, and they just dont. you try and try to get them to not pick on one another.. especially the bigger with the younger, and they just dont… yeah, its definitely a helpless feeling!
    but.
    im learning to try to step back more and let them fight their own battles (within reason). im learning that sometimes its not about what they’re doing, but how they feel.

    Reply
      1. Ericka Iverson

        ugh. and just how mean they can be.. and we havent been doing well overall as a family with my struggle with negativity and depression and anxiety and i havent been patient or kind on any consistent level… im feeling a bit better, but think i have to get ahold of my doc again as she mentioned upping the doseage and i might have to do that. i just want to be better, happier, less dragged down.

        Reply
  28. A J

    Today, please share with us one area of your life where you’ve felt helpless, and how you through Jesus are regaining power. 

    I have felt discouraged and lonely. It has been difficult to trust and find worthy friends. Perhaps this yields a sense of helplessness. But through Jesus aswering my prayers, people have crossed my paths at times when I need it most. I give Him the credit and claim His power to do it in my life over and over again.

    Reply

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